Trump to greet released US detainees


US President Donald Trump is travelling to Andrews Air Force Base near Washington to greet three American detainees released by North Korea.

The White House said the trio, who will arrive shortly, had been freed as a gesture of goodwill ahead of the planned meeting between Mr Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The released men thanked Mr Trump for securing their freedom.

Donald Trump says the venue for the summit will be announced “within three days”.

The three men had been jailed for anti-state activities and placed in labour camps.

Their release came during a visit to Pyongyang by Mr Pompeo to arrange details of the meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Kim.

“I appreciate Kim Jong-un doing this and allowing them to go,” Mr Trump said.

The trio flew out of North Korea with Mr Pompeo on a US Air Force plane before switching to an aircraft with better medical equipment at the Yokota Air Force Base near Tokyo.

“All indications are at this point that their health is as good as could be given that they’ve been held,” Mr Pompeo said.

Kim Jong-un said he accepted a US proposal to grant the three detainees an amnesty, adding that his meeting with President Trump would be an “excellent first step” towards improving the situation on the Korean peninsula, according to the North Korean state news agency KCNA.

One of the detainees was jailed in 2015, the other two have been in prison for just over a year. Their convictions have been widely condemned as political and an abuse of human rights.

South Korea’s presidential Blue House said the prisoners’ release would have a “positive effect” on upcoming negotiations.

Spokesman Yoon Young-chan also called upon the North to release six South Koreans it has in prison.

Some 120,000 people are believed to be imprisoned in North Korea without due process, according to the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK).

People can be jailed by the regime for almost anything, activists say, with crimes ranging from watching a South Korean DVD to trying to defect from the country.

Political prisoners are often sent to separate prisons – usually brutal labour camps, which involve difficult physical work such as mining and logging.